For example, this Sunday I am preaching from I John 5:6-12. The text reads from the King James Version as follows.
6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. 10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. 11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
The emboldened words above (in vs 7-8) are considered by Greek scholars to be an addition to the original text. They believe that because of the controversies in the early church over the deity of Jesus Christ, scribes in the 4th century added the words - words not originally written by John - to help make a stronger case for the deity of Christ and put down the heretics of their day.
Frankly, the text itself seems to confirm the Greek scholars' conclusions. Verses 6-8 speak of the testimonies of man regarding the person of Christ. The water refers to His baptism in the Jordan and what those who witnessed it reported to others about it (God said 'this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased' Matthew 3:16). The blood speaks of Calvary and what those who observed the cross, the earthquake, the eclipse, etc... reported to others it all ('surely this man was the Son of God' Mark 15:39). The spirit (Greek has no capitalization), is "the gospel of truth" (at least according to John Gill), but it also could be a reference to the Holy Spirit which empowers men to proclaim the message of the gospel to others. Regardless, the water (Jesus' baptism), the blood (Jesus' death at Calvary), and the spirit (either the gospel or the Spirit's empowerment to share Christ with others), is the recounting of the history of Jesus Christ - and we believe the testimony. We don't believe a fairy tell. We believe a story that is confirmed by eyewitnesses of actual events. The scribal addition in verses 7-8 seems out of place with the context because it brings in the testimony of heaven, not earth.
It is only beginning in verse 9 that the transition from the testimony of people on earth to the testimony of God takes place. The testimony of God regarding the person of His Son is found in 'life.' He that has the Son has 'life' (an inner divine life). This is, of course, the life that comes from what John calls 'the new birth.' So, the testimony of man is the sharing of Christ's ministry and death with others. The testimony of God is the life that God implants in the person who believes on Christ.
The Greek scholars leave out the emboldened words in verses 7-8 because they don't show up in Greek texts until the 4th Century. For this reason the English Standard Version, the New American Standard Version, the New International Version and other modern English translations of the Bible leave out almost all of verse 7 and the first portion of verse 8. For example, the popular English Standard Version translates I John 5:6-12 as follows:
6 This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. 9 If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. 11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
Notice how short in length verse 7 in the English Standard Version is compared to the King James Version. In addition, the ESV in vs 7-8 reads completely different than vs 7-8 in the King James Version. Bluntly, almost an entire verse (vs. 7) is left out of the ESV, NIV, NASB, and other translations. An entire statement on the deity of Christ is excluded from our modern English translations.
The question to my inerrantist friends is simple and two fold:
(1). Is your faith in Jesus Christ or in a "perfect" English text (or Greek manuscript)?
(2). Do you talk more to others about your faith in Jesus or your belief in a perfect English text (or Greek manuscript)?
We inerrantist need to realize that the belief in the veracity of the Scriptures does not exclude textual criticisms of our English translations.
We worship the Christ the Bible reveals, not the Bible itself.
In His Grace,